A Full-Circle Moment:
A blue-collar girl, my name is Susan Wilson. Perhaps it's because I don't come from money that I'm such a fan of crowdfunding so i truly appreciate you taking the time learn more about AdviseHer. Having made FORTUNE Magazine's illustrious list of the 10 Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs in 2009, I regularly speak to women on entrepreneurship but March 17, 2011 was different. It was twenty years later and I was back at Georgetown University. I looked across the podium and saw myself in their twenty-year old eyes. The real me NOT the award-winning, successful me they admired, wanted to learn from, and some even dreamed of becoming.
It was a life-changing moment that snuck up on me. "The world will be saved by the western woman. My soul whispered the Dalai Lamas 2009 words, forcing my A.D.D. brain to short-circuit. Clearly not thinking, I abandoned my stock presentation and fell on my sword telling these 20 year-old versions of me the truth I wish I'd heard from the women I admired when I was their age, "I'm a liar, a cheat, and a thief." I remember the girls laughing uncomfortably when I said it but I knew it was worth convincing them. Perhaps they'd save the world if I told them the truth I wish I had heard:
Degrees of wrongness are convenient delineations. My mother and the women of her generation fought hard getting women a seat at the table. Yes their facade is a convenient truth BUT it was necessary for them to survive. A sign of the times, sweeping mistakes and indiscretions under the rug was a noble effort passed down generations of women before them. But I didnt know that at twenty. It was before Twitter, Facebook, and the Internet began making hypocrites extinct (e.g., Elliott Spitzer and Anthony Weiner).
And as a direct result, most women my age lost decades of potential - undermining our own self worth. I promise you I have done more to limit my success than anything any man did or didn't do. I created FundHer in 2009 as a passion project empowering women so we'd get out of our own way and start solving for solutions (instead of wasting more years debating and solving for an answer). Agreement isn't coming. Help isn't coming. The Dalai Lama knows it and it's time we owned it.
What's AdviseHer Doing:
AdviseHer is a direct result of me owning my truth (and I'll gladly accept a Nobel Prize for my valiant effort btw). In the three months since then, I've worked with a core group of girls in that audience creating and bootstrapping AdviseHer. An online personal mentoring platform for girls providing access to real role models willing to share the truth in ways they can relate - online and offline via cell, chat, text, Skype, Facebook, Google, etc.
Lean Startup fans (i.e., common sense individuals), we duct-taped a solution together for AdviseHer - clearly proving the concept, the value as well as the demand. Now we need $10,000 to take AdviseHer to the next level to be used as follows:
- $3000: Design and create a custom facebook page as well as an app and a game to drive awareness among teens
- $2000: Create proprietary logo and compelling visuals to fill out the site, facebook, etc.
- $4000: Rebuild site from the ground up w/integrated social networking using NationBuilder
- $1000: Proprietary content
We have BIG plans so we know it's going to take more than $10,000. We're already getting requests to expand to other schools. But right now, we're heads down and focused on systemizing what we have so it runs like a machine. Not easy when individuals are actually involved, but that's the point!
We're not building a new cutting-edge technology so we don't need the best brains focused on getting our technology where it needs to be. This is doable with $10,000 beause it's summer and we have the opportunity to get some good bodies in exchange for "intern" titles, ping pong and Mountain Dew.
Why You Should Care:
Do you want girls emulating partying socialites and movie stars? Or do you want them looking up to girls they can relate to girls that look like them - reality stars whove become rich and famous for behaving badly? Today, those are really the only choices girls have. That's what they're exposed to so that's what they know. AND THAT's why you should care. Even if you don't have a daughter, you deal with girls regularly. Help them and you really do end up helping yourself too!
Why this Team:
Why this Team:
Help AdviseHer cross platforms and technologies so real girls all over the world have easy access to positive role models online or offline via cell, chat, text, Skype, Google, Facebook, landline, or snail mail. In case you think were kidding, AdviseHer CEO, Georgetown undergrad Dena Sholk, is spending her summer in Kazakhstan having to email her hysterical blog posts to her family in New Jersey to post to AdviseHer because Blogger and Google are blocked in Kazakhstan.
Clearly an empowered young woman, Denas T.C.B. tagline (short for taking care of business which is apparently too long to actually say in full), its clear shes used to getting things done. So she wasnt thrilled Corey Cameron, AdviseHers CTO, whos in Palo Alto interning for the summer at Google, wasnt able to pull some strings.
Corey has a wicked sense of humor and shes an amazing writer but shes fairly reserved so I LOVE reading her Unstoppable Corey blog posts. Totally badass! Thats the beauty of AdviseHer, theres a depth and breadth to the girls offering insight and advice. From all walks of life and all nationalities, its fun to listen to their banter. And its only going to get better as we expand to add mentors and contributors from additional schools.
And if youre old like me (41 ;D) thinking youve got nothing to learn from these girls, think again. Despite failing with Rosetta Stone and Berlitz, Im finally picking up French from Elizabeth Schieffelin, AdviseHers COO, whos spending the summer in Paris. Nothing formal - just emails back & forth which is probably why my brain is absorbing it. Cest la vie!
The Ask and Impact:
You and I can't change tv's line up. Okay we can't (if you can, please help btw). We can't stop Mtv from creating stupid reality shows. But with IndieGoGo, AdviseHer is creating an individual call to action - SO YOU CAN DO SOMETHING NOW! Please consider giving at least $10 and spread the word to everyone you know.
AdviseHer wants to engage with girls 'where they're at' (literally and figuratively) so they can get where they're supposesd to be! If you have ideas, tell us. We're self-funded and totally winging-it (and loving it). We can TRY anything so get involved and give some feedback. It takes a village...remember. So we're thinking of creating a flash mob event with a Village People theme. What do you think? email Info@AdviseHer.com or visit us online at www.AdviseHer.com.